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Expert warns of likely worldwide flu outbreak
www.chinaview.cn 2005-09-14 16:37:24

    BEIJING, Sept. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- Zhong Nanshan, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a hero in fighting against SARS, warned that a large-scale global-wide outbreak of flu is likely to happen at any time given the current conditions.

    "But we can't pin down a specific time for the outbreak so far," Zhong was quoted as saying by Wednesday's Information Time.

    He said a global flu generally takes place every 20 to 50 years and now the time is more than 20 years after the flu outbreak last time.

    "It's bird flu that renders the current situation so serious," said Zhong, fearing a mutated flu viruses might present a more dangerous threat.

    "To date, we still can't tell whether bird flu viruses can join human flu viruses to create some viruses that could live easier inside humans," he said.

    "The case could be still more terrible if one contracts both human and bird flu at the same time," he said.

    "If there are some viruses that are able to jump from human to human, I'm afraid that could pose a catastrophic disaster for human beings."

    He recommended people get inoculated against the flu during the September-October period, the time immediately before flu outbreak season.

    The old, children, patients and medical workers, who have proved to be particularly vulnerable to infection, are strongly suggested to take inoculate bacterins as earlier as possible, he said.

    According to Zhong, flu viruses mutate almost every year. This year, "the a type viruses would be H1N1 and H3N2 ones and the B type be Shanghai viruses."

    Mutation means the antibodies created by bacterins taken in the past may not ward off new flu strains, he said.

    "Inoculation is the most effective way to prevent flu contraction," he said. Enditem

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